Sunday, July 3, 2011

5 Worst NHL Free Agent Signings

July 1 is of course Canada Day. It's a great day to enjoy being around family and friends while taking in some BBQ and fireworks. It's also the day where for a few select Canadian kids they become more wealthy than they've ever dreamed of.

Yes, Canada Day is also known as NHL Free Agent Day. In between flipping burgers on the BBQ, hockey fans are asking "hey did we sign <enter name of overrated player> yet?" Depending on who your team signed some fans are not only ordering their jersey but are planning that Stanley Cup parade route for next summer.

There was some great deals this year but before we get to those let's look at the deals that are either just dumb or have "payout" written all over them.

#5. Michael Ryder (RW) - Dallas Stars

The Contract: 2 years/$7million - Cap hit of $3.5mil
Why it's a bad deal: For the last three season's Michael Ryder has been playing for the Boston Bruins in more of a third line role. His first year saw him have a decent 53 point season. After that he fell back down to earth with a 33 point season then 41 points last year. He'll be on the top line in Dallas next season seeing each team's best defenders. While he doesn't have a huge salary, don't expect him to see a 50 point season in Dallas.

#4. Ville Leino (LW) - Buffalo Sabres

The Contract: 6 years/$27million - Cap hit of $4.5mil
Why it's a bad deal: Basically, Ville Leino has only played one full season in the NHL. Now, on the upside he's only 27 years old. He scored 53 points in 81 games last season playing for the Flyers. But, in 09/10 he scored 11 points in 55 games and before that he had 9 points in 13 games. This could be a great signing but this could also be like the Dustin Penner/Tomas Vanek contracts from a few years ago.

#3. Brad Richards (C) - New York Rangers
The Contract: 9 years/$60million - Cap hit of $6.66mil
Why it's a bad deal: Brad Richards is a great player, he's a true #1 centre and if you ask any team in the NHL they would love to have a player like him on their team. He's won a Stanley Cup and has a Conn Smythe Trophy. What I don't like is the fact that this is a typical Rangers signing. Richards is 31 years old and they'll have him until he's 40 and he'll have a cap hit of $6.66million. It's ironic that on the day they signed Richards they also bought out their captain Chris Drury who had a cap hit of just over $7million. By the way, Drury is only 33 and also signed there as a free agent.

#2. Erik Cole (LW) - Montreal Canadiens
The Contract: 4 years/$18million - Cap hit of $4.5mil
Why it's a bad deal: I like Erik Cole, the guy plays a tough style of hockey that the Canadiens are desperately lacking. He had a respectable 52 points in 82 games last year; however, that was his highest points total since the 06/07 season and the first time in his career he's appeared in all 82 games during a season. He has a history of injuries and at the age of 32 do the Canadiens really want him for another 4 years? Plus, let's not forget about that one part of a season in Edmonton. He had a dismal 27 points in 63 games. He was traded back to Carolina that same season where he had 15 points in 17 games. This one reeks of buyout in a few years.

#1 Ilya Bryzgalov (G) - Philadelphia Flyers
The Contract: 9 years/$51million - Cap hit of $5.66mil
Why it's a bad deal: This signing could hurt this team for year's to come as they traded away Jeff Carter and Mike Richards in order to sign him. Plus let's also look at the fact that he's never really done anything in the playoffs and was terrible for Phoenix the last two years in the post-season. There's also the important fact that they're going to have him on their books until he's 40 years old. Yes, a 40 year old goalie making $5.6 million. Wow, Nikolai Khabibulin's contract doesn't seem so bad now.

I'll be back tomorrow with the five best signings.

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